You wait for something to happen with bated breath. You hope for it day and night, building stories around it – different versions in different settings — all climaxing into the same ending, into that one wish, into that one desire. But even then your wish might come true in a form that will take you by surprise. I so wanted to see her again. But I never imagined landing right next to her in the office elevator. It was on one morning when I was boarding the lift, lost in my thoughts, contemplating on the week gone by, that I saw her standing in there and I was overcome with a feeling of extreme trepidation.
She was standing right beside me. My heart stopped in my chest. For a moment, I dared not breathe. I thought of getting away as far as possible. But there was not an inch to move. Beads of perspiration rolled down my head. A wave of panic swept through me. I felt trapped. Then the breaths became heavier and heart beats faster. I felt like falling. I tried to look ahead as straight as an arrow, trying hard to stand straight, ensuring to do not get noticed, to calm my gushing breaths and to slow down the beating heart.
The lift stopped at the next floor. Two thin guys alighted. Before I could rejoice the dispersion -a chance to relax, take a breath or two —an oversized man hurled himself into the lift. The invasion made everybody squirm in an already crowded lift. The congestion made my vision cloudy and head dizzy. It was at that moment when everybody was trying to wiggle, to create space for the new traveler, that I felt her shoulder brush against mine.
It was a gentle touch, a light flick. She mightn’t have even noticed that. But to me, it felt like the heat of a burning wood in a frosty night. I lowered my eyes and saw her at the edge of my vision. In a black tunic, her face shone like a full moon against a dark sky. Her curls fell down her neck like streams of a gentle river. She was only a couple of inches shorter than I was, dark-haired, slender, with a face that would break your heart. Even in the crowded lift she stood with a nonchalance gait that made her stood out from the rest.
I didn’t take notice of surroundings after that —on which floor lift stopped, which ones it skipped, who boarded and who didn’t. I just kept on watching her, my reality melting into her thoughts like a candle wax melting from the burning flame. I didn’t realize when we reached the sixth floor. The sixth-floor beep jolted me out from my reverie. I looked around lest somebody was observing me. With a few others, she moved out of the lift. As I saw her leaving, my heart ached with a hundred emotions, all burning with the same desire. Suddenly I felt alone in that lift full of people. It was like a part of me tore off from me when she left.
I felt a void created where she had stood only a few seconds before. The sweet smell of her perfume still lingered in the air. I leaned back on the elevator wall and smiled at my own folly. Each moment I was falling more and more into her, and she didn’t even know that I existed. The feelings made me feel like a teenager again. I closed my eyes and let the moment settle in my core. I didn’t know how and when I would see her again, so I wanted to hold on to this feeling, this moment for as long as it was possible.